The furthest I've ever run in my life is half a marathon (21km or 13 miles); I've only done it a few times and it's always felt like a long way! However, this year I was challenged to take part in the Comrades Ultramarathon, a 90km uphill run next June in South Africa. That's over FOUR half marathons. Of course, I said yes, and here I am now.
To stand a chance of getting to the start line (never mind completing it) I'm having to rearrange my life! I'm beginning to look on a 10km run as an "easy day" and realising why taking part in Comrades could just be life changing. I'm now running 45km each week (this is increasing each month), and having to organise myself like never before.
An undertaking this big is of course made up of smaller steps, and my first significant achievement is going to be completing my first Marathon. This will be in Gloucester on the 20th January. Managing and surviving it will let me know I am on track to succeed at Comrades. And standing confidently at the startline in January will be the result of sticking to a training program and self discipline between now and then.
Something that keeps me going as I run is thinking of the impact I could have on the projects I've chosen to support:
The two causes I am running for are great community initiatives: In South Africa, where the run will be, Community Chest helps out with many small projects, in Health, Education, combatting poverty and building communities. Community Chest works hard to ensure that 100% of donated funds reach and benefit the intended recipients and I think it is initiatives like this that can really help to make a difference to individual lives in a country that is still recovering from the effects of Apartheid, even decades later.
And closer to home, Acorns 'n' Oaks unites the young and old at regular playgroups, bringing joy and happiness to people for whom the groups are the highlight of their week. It's a simple and cost-effective initiative that ought to operate in every care home in the country.
Whenever I run I often think of these groups and their benefits and, as the training gets harder in the cold and wet, knowing that I am running for them is going to help me keep motivated! So your support in helping me reach my target is going to help me get out the front door every morning and reach that goal.